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Around Kings County: Building activity down one-third in 2017/ More

January 3,2108

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.56.14 AMKings County’s building activity was down in 2017 on both the residential and commercial front. Builders permitted 260 homes in the county in 2017, down from 415 the year before according to Construction Monitor. 

Residential building valuation dropped from $139 million to $87 million in 2017.

On the commercial side, construction valuation in 2017 totaled $57 million compared to $87 million in 2016. The big drop came in new solar energy projects where valuation dropped to $3.1 million, based on on 30 projects, from $21 million on 27, obviously much larger projects.

Residential rooftop solar projects also declined in 2017 from 1193 in 2016 to 831 in 2017.

Up in 2017 were construction of industrial buildings, 7 permitted in 2017 valued at $16.6 million, up from 5 projects at $11 million in 2016.

Total valuation of all building, both residential and commercial, was $145 million in 2017, $226 million in 2016, $147 million in 2015, $130 million in 2014 and just $66 million in 2013 – during the depth of the recession.

Who were the county’s busiest home builders in 2017?

Valley-based San Joaquin Valley Homes tops the list in 2017 with permits issued for 70 new single-family homes valued at $15.6 million. Lennar-Fresno is second.with 52 homes, Blue Mountain Construction with 3 , Wathen-Castanos with 37 homes and DR Horton with 24. Lennar was tops in 2016 with 110 homes.

Farmers irrigating fruit trees in January

With just 0.04 inches rain in the bucket in December Kings County farmers are choosing to turn on their pumps to irrigate their orchards to insure they don’t dry out despite the calendar- not exactly a portend for a happy new year.

Local farm advisor Kevin Day says it makes sense that if mother nature is not going to wet the ground, farmers will want to make it happen providing deep moisture down 5 feet to “improve the soil profile that will encourage the tree to grow when it emerges from winter” as well as to leach salts away from the root zone.

Fears of another drought are tempered by the good surface water supply in our reservoirs and recharge basins from the wet 2017. But not much is being stored in our snowpack so far this water year.

A January 2 snow survey found the snowpack’s average water content statewide was just 25% of average for the date.

On a more promising note, the 7-day precip forecast shows 5.4 to 3.4 inches coming down from Shasta to Yosemite area and 3.7 inches in the Big Sur area from Jan 3-10.

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 9.08.54 AM

Solar plants needn’t displace farmland, study learns

Plenty of places exist to locate new solar energy facilities without putting them on prime farmland, according to a University of California study.

Researchers identified opportunities for locating solar plants on Central Valley land not suitable for farming, on rooftops of agricultural facilities and other places. A co-author of the study says it’s important to explore such alternative sites for solar development, in order to conserve farmland.

The UC Davis study mentions (1) built environments, such as rooftops 2) salt-affected land 3) contaminated land, and 4) water reservoirs with floating solar arrays, or “floatovoltaics.”  

CFB contributed to this story

Cannabis grower seeks new location

Caliva wants to relocate an approved Commercial Medical Cannabis Business Permit 2017-03 to 10757 Energy Street in Hanford to distribute cannabis in an existing 20,000 square foot facility.

The potential approval by the Hanford City Council of the proposed location will allow the applicant to occupy the building in first quarter of 2018 and begin distribution and manufacturing in second quarter of 2018, 6-8 months earlier than at the original location on Houston Ave. According to the applicants letter, this mean construction starts earlier and jobs are created earlier.

Council is expected to approve the application January 3.

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